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What Year Was Jesus Born? The Answer May Surprise You

Nativity2

What year was Jesus born? The answer may surprise you. You might think that Jesus was born in the Year Zero–between 1 B.C. and A.D. 1. You often hear that Jesus was born around 6-7 B.C. The evidence from the Bible and the Church Fathers, however, support a different year. Here’s what the evidence says . . . Not in Year Zero There is a good reason why Jesus wasn’t born in Year Zero: there wasn’t one. The sequence of years before Christ ends at 1 B.C. and the A.D. series picks up... Read More

Jesus’ Birth and when Herod the Great *Really* Died

Nativity

The Gospel of Matthew tells us that Jesus Christ was born in the final years of the tyrant known as Herod the Great. He tells us that when Jesus was born, Herod panicked and had all the baby boys in Bethlehem killed. Fortunately, the Jesus' family escaped to Egypt and remained there until Herod was dead. They didn't have to stay long, though. Here's when Herod the Great actually died . . .   Setting Aside a Common Mistake   For just over a hundred years, the question of when... Read More

Do the “Infancy Narratives” of Matthew and Luke Contradict Each Other?

Magi

What do atheist skeptics and liberal Scripture scholars have in common? They both love to find alleged “contradictions” in Scripture. Though there are many of these alleged “contradictions,” one of the favorites of both of these camps is one that you can expect to find being re-hashed again and again on the Internet:—especially now that we are approaching Christmas—the “contradictions” found in what are commonly referred to as “the infancy narratives” of St. Matthew... Read More

Is Real Knowledge Only Scientific Knowledge?

ScienceTrust

Is science the only legitimate form of rational inquiry? The evolutionary biologist and popular atheist Richard Dawkins thinks so. In a 2012 debate with Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dawkins claims that religion, as opposed to science, is “a betrayal of the intellect.” He asserts that appealing to God to explain the universe is “a phony substitute for an explanation” and “peddles false explanations where real explanations could have been offered.” What... Read More

Does the Bible Affirm the Existence of Mythical Creatures?

Unicorns

One common argument against the inspiration or even the trustworthiness of the Bible is that it affirms the existence of mythical creatures. For example, atheist Jason Long says, “The cockatrice, unicorn, and dragon, are examples of mythical creatures in the Bible that fail to leave any reliable evidence for their existence.”1 Do these legendary animals prove the Bible itself is a collection of legends? No, because in most cases the Bible is affirming the existence of real animals.... Read More

4 Errors About the Burden of Proof for God

BurdenProof

I used to be a lawyer before entering seminary to prepare for the Catholic priesthood. It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, that I’m fascinated by questions about the “burden of proof” in religious questions. For example, does the burden of proof fall on the believer or the atheist? What sort of evidence is permissible to meet this burden of proof? Do “extraordinary” claims require extraordinary evidence? Should they meet an extraordinary burden of proof, above the burden... Read More

Is God Necessary for Human Happiness?

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Filed under God, Man

Happiness

Christians have always heard that only God can make them happy. In fact, some Bible translations render Psalm 16:2 as, "You are my God. My happiness lies in you alone." But an atheist would say, “I don’t need God to be happy. I can get along just fine without him.” It is true that an atheist can experience kinds of happiness without living for God. But if an atheist persistently and culpably rejects God, Fr. Robert Spitzer argues in a new book, he will not be able to experience... Read More

What Do You Think of the Moral Argument for God?

Moral Argument

NOTE: We recently kicked off a new series of posts, each introducing a popular argument for or against God, followed by open-ended discussion. The goal is not to offer a thorough defense or refutation of the argument in the original post, but to unpack it together, as a community, in the comment boxes. The first argument we discussed was Alvin Plantinga's modal ontological argument for God, then we looked at the kalam cosmological argument. Today, we'll look at the moral argument for God.     The... Read More

Is an All-Evil God as Likely as an All-Good God?

EvilGod

In the combox to a post on another subject, reader Eric asked for my opinion of philosopher Stephen Law’s article “The evil-god challenge.” I had not then read the article and did not have time to do so at that moment, but I commented briefly on the summary of Law’s views that Eric provided. To my surprise, Law posted a response to my (somewhat dashed off) comments in the same combox a couple of weeks later. I did not bother to reply, because Law’s remarks seemed themselves obviously... Read More

Skeptic Bart Ehrman on Whether Jesus Really Existed

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Filed under Jesus

Ehrman

We've devoted many articles on this site to "Mythicism", the belief that Jesus of Nazareth is simply a myth and not a real, historical figure. Today we feature the interesting introduction to Bart Ehrman’s best-selling book, Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth which deals with the question. Ehrman is a preeminent New Testament scholar, but he's not a Christian. In fact, he's one of the world's best-known skeptics of religion, regularly debating against... Read More

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